The Role of Diverse Strategies in Sustainable Knowledge Production


Online communities are becoming increasingly important as platforms for large-scale human cooperation. These communities allow users seeking and sharing professional skills to solve problems collaboratively. To investigate how users cooperate to complete a large number of knowledge-producing tasks, we analyze StackExchange, one of the largest question and answer systems in the world. We construct attention networks to model the growth of 110 communities in the StackExchange system and quantify individual answering strategies using the linking dynamics of attention networks. We identify two types of users taking different strategies. One strategy (type A) aims at performing maintenance by doing simple tasks, while the other strategy (type B) aims investing time in doing challenging tasks. We find that the number of type A needs to be twice as big as type B users for a sustainable growth of communities.